Monday, January 20, 2014

There Will Be Mud

Sometimes indecision can lead to something that turns out well - I prefer to call it spontaneity.

I could not decide what sounded good as far as a riding today so I headed south on Valley Chapel road for the many riding options it provides. I could continue on the road to Mt. Hope or jump onto numerous dirt roads and ride forever.  After about 6 miles I called an audible and turned-up Spangle Creek Road which meant climbing a 10% grade followed by miles of dirt roads through the rolling hills of the Palouse. 

Left at the top on Yale road provides endless miles of options to the east, west and south.  The temperature was cooler than forecast so a lot of climbing and slower speeds seemed like a good way to keep warm.  It also would provide some much needed intensity followed by recovery as we approach riding season.

Watt Road leads to the town of Spangle, WA or toward the Idaho border to the east in this shot.
One of the great things about living on the northern edge of the Palouse is that it is pretty easy to design a ride that is an equal mix of road riding and gravel riding if that is what sounds appealing.  Today was no exception where the route provided about 12 miles of each. 

The only issue with the route at sub-freezing temperatures was the brain-freeze headache that occurs bombing back down the 10% grade at 35 mph after the sweat collects on the front of my head cover.

The cold temperatures keep the dirt roads from turning to mud and keep the frost on the trees.  There is still a lot of moisture in the ground so future road conditions will depend on how quickly temperatures rise once spring starts to arrive.

I have driven many of the roads over the years which may explain why I never quite realized how brutal some of the rollers can be on a bike.  There are points where it is all-out granny in a 34 x 28 just to keep moving - and not at a high cadence I might add.  They also provide much welcomed variety and the chance to explore.

When the weather does break the Speed Sirens may beckon me back into mostly road riding with fast-rolling skinny tires or I may play with bigger road tires so I can still do both road and exploring - time will tell. 

In the meantime, I pledge to remain spontaneous.

Two Wheel Transit - Cycling for Life


  1. Sounds like a good chunk of the Midnight Century Ride. You are motivating me to get out and ride the cyclocross bike. I worry about hitting icy patches on the fast downhill's.

    1. Yes, I was thinking about that though I have never ridden TMCR. I was concerned with ice on descents so I did an out and back so I could recon the descents during the climb. I did not have any trouble with icy spots on descents though. Hope you can get out soon before more snow flies. Thanks for reading.

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